Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Lure With No Name

Hi there,

Today I am going to tell you the tale , not of a horse with no name, but of a lure with no name...

A few months ago, I was gifted a beautiful timber lure.
One that I believed to be a Killalure, yet something was not right. I had never seen one looking like this. The eyes, the tow point and the hooks hangers were right, but something about the shape was unusual…
Was it just a copy, or a very rare one?

It looks like a baby Barramundi.

I asked here and there if anyone had already seen a similar lure. But to no avail, the mystery grew deeper and deeper.
With a lot of people giving their opinion. Some of the answer I received, were closer to science fiction than reality.
Then one evening trolling an online lure forum, I struck gold!
I found someone who obviously had a very good knowledge of the Killalure brand (And you are soon to know why). 
I sent him a message, he replied and the enigma was no more.

The lure is indeed a Killalure, from the mid 80’s. It is in fact a 4” Killalure cut down. While making them, the good people at Killaure had a problem with a run of blank that had been over sanded. So the man making them, cut the tail off, and put on them some aluminum bib that he had laying around.
About one hundred of them were made. The run was so short; that the lure didn’t even received a name!

The Killalure with no name.

The lures were painted with Dulux Base Coat.
The colour is originally a Nils Master one, but in the Killalure range this is the colour number 70. The hooks might be 777 #2 Eagle Claws. 
A few different bibs were used for this lure model; on this one it was the 3” Barra Bait bib.

The 3" Barrra Bait bib

Who is the man who generously gave me all this information?

It is no one else than the man behind the Killalure saga: the legendary Dave Killalea.

Thanks to the Dave who gave me this lure, and thanks to the Dave who give me the information about this lure.

Two different Dave, but two top bloke.

So with about only one hundred of them ever made, I doubt that I will ever have a full colour set of this very lure...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Billabong In The Middle Of Nowhere.

Hi there,

Seano gave me a phone call early in the morning and asked me if I wanted to go fishing in a billabong in the middle of nowhere...
I said yes!

  • It was in the middle of nowhere.
  • We did get some fish.
  • We got all of our fish on weedless soft plastic lures.
  • it was a great day.

Want to read the full story?
Here it is then:

On a face book group Seano said that he was thinking of going fishing if he could find a deckie.
I said: "Pick Me!"
He called me and it went a bit like this:
Are you ready, can I come to pick you up now?
No! I haven't had a shower yet!
Ok, then, I will be at your place to pick you up in half an hour, we are going billabong fishing.

Quick quick, a shower, getting the tackle bag ready with gear for billabong fishing.
The phone rang again: "Hey Mate, I am in from of your place"
I walk out, with my fishing gear, and a plate with two toast and scramble eggs on it.
And off we go for a new fishing adventure. 
Eating my breakfast on the way.

In the bush, in the middle of nowhere we drove.
Don't ask me where exactly. I would honestly not be able to answer, I was too busy looking at the landscape. Half dreaming about all the fish we were going to catch, to be able to notice any direction that were were taking.

Driving through the bush to go fishing.

We finally arrived at about midday to our chosen location and launched the boat.
Boat ramp?
What boat ramp?

Launch site.

The billabong was beautiful, and not another boat in sight:

A billabong just for us.

It was the middle of the day, and experience would have dictated the use of diver lures, not surface lures...
But once again, being who I am, I decided to just have a few cast with the cool looking surface lure that Brett gave me a few week ago. You know, just to see how it swims and all...
Second cast with it, a little Barramundi boofed my surface lure, I jumped in surprise, but the fish didn't connect.
Now that was a promising sign if ever there had been any.
We were going to catch some fish! Was the thing that we started to think...
Well yes we did, maybe not cricket score of them, but enough to have a great day on the water.
Any way, after a few more cast of the surface lure, I decided to fish in earnest, and to put a weedless soft plastic, to cast at the snags.

We got a few hits, saw a few fish, and...
I was on! 
After an average cast toward some Pandanus roots, I can suddenly feel and see my line tense, I strike and it begins.
The fish quickly came to the surface, jumped and I can see that it is a Saratoga, a beautiful fish that I really like to fish for.
It start to do all the things that Saratoga are known for. It move in a snake like fashion, it jump and try to bury me in the snags. Luckily for me this one is not too big and I get it to the boat.

First fish of the day.

After a quick snap, it was released, healthy and strong.
As you can see by the size of the lure compared to the fish, they were hungry in this billabong.
Just wait a bit for the weather to warm up a bit, and it might turn crazy in there.

We then both got a few miss, dropsy all around.
Then Seano cast between some submerged branches and got a hit, but failed to connect.
So I sent my lure in roughly the same spot, and I am on!
Once again, the fish hit the lure on the drop.
Simple technic really: cast your soft plastic, let it drop to the bottom. Give it a few flick rewind a bit of line, let it drop to the bottom, and repeat. It is on the drop, while the line is slightly slack, that I see it suddenly going straight and changing direction. I quickly raise my rod tip, start to smile, and be happy.
As we were working some rather short distance cast, the tussle is not too long, but still very exciting, and I find myself with another Saratoga in my hands.

Second Saratoga for the day.

This was a better fish than the first one, and it made me very happy.
Which is good, as it was going to be my last one for the day!
I was just starting to feel bad, that I was on Seano's boat and catching more fish than him...
I should not have worried, because from now on he was going to shine, and get all the fish.

The first fish that Seano got, was a Sooty Grunter.
I had read and heard a lot about the Sooty Grunter, but was yet to see one in the flesh.
Sometimes it the simple things in life,  for me, finally seeing one made the day even better.

The Sooty Grunter.

This one was as fat as a footy, and it went back in the drink, to get even fatter.
And hopefully we will meet again one day.
It then became Barra Time!
Seano got two of them in a row, little ones some of you might say, but a fish is a fish, especially when it is a Barramundi.

First little Barramundi of the day.

Last Barramundi for the day.

I think that by then Seano was a bit tired of me alway wanting to take pictures of fish that he would consider not worthy. But hey, it was a Barra!

After Barra time, it didn't become Hammer Time, but it went full circle, and we, or I should say, Seano, got back in the Saratoga. While I got back at taking pictures.

Seano's first Saratoga for the day.

And it didn't take long after that for the last Saratoga, and last fish, of the day to come onboard.

Last fish of the day: Saratoga!

We were happy anglers, we had spend a few hours catching fish on an isolated billabong, far from the crowds that you sometimes find on the popular billabongs. The shadows were starting to grow longer, and we decided that it was time to go home.

End of the day on the billabong.

We did run ingot some trouble to get out of the billabong.
The trailer got stuck against a step in the mud. We had to actually skull drag the boat on the bank and then put the trailer under it.
One of the hand rail from the boat got ripped off the gunwale while the boat was dragged out of the water, but luckily, no one was injured, which is the most important.

Driving throughout the bush, we made a quick stop, so I could make a photograph of the sunset:
Australia, you are beautiful!

Sunset over the Australian bush.

To recap, it was a great day, discovering some new fishing location. Seeing a new specie of fish that I had never seen yet. Good company, good laugh, good fishing, what else could make a great Sunday?
Thank you for the invitation Seano.

Oh yes, I did get totally out fished once again...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fishing Corroboree Billabong In Winter.

Hi there,

Yes fishing Corroboree Billabong in winter is not often a synonym of success, and now I know why.
Yet it was a great day in the Australian outdoor, worth of a little post on this blog.

My good friend Jason Arrabamundi who now lives interstate, was in Darwin for a few days last week.
He had rented a car and a boat to go and fish at Corroboree Billabong for a full day, and had invited me to tag along.
It was a long time since we fished together, and I was more than keen.

At about 5:00am Jason picked me up and on the road to a new fishing adventure we went.
It was great to catchup viva voce in the car, and the mood was flying high.
Then the adventure part started, with a punctured tyre.

The flat tyre.

This photo was made in day light, but the puncture happened way before any light was seen shining anywhere...
It was in fact closer to a bit before 6:00am when we first stopped to inspect this now unusable front wheel, and decided to try to change it.
Yes I wrote try, because try we did, and then we quickly realised that the rental company had not put the adequate tools in the trunk of the car, to change a tyre... Oh, they had put some tools in there, but because of the alloy mag wheels, we needed a special size socket to unscrew the wheel studs. And the special size socket was now where to be seen. We looked from the glove box to the boot, and could not find anything remotely similar to what we needed. Slightly irritated we decided to call the rental company, Jason did it, better than I would have, for sure.
And they replied that the guy to help us would be with us in about one or one and an half hour...
So we started to wait, and to pass the time, to make some photos of the rising day on the bush. Instead of the billabong where we had planned to see the sunrise, and start to get some early fish.
(Early fish was definitely not going to happen anyway).

Early morning on the Australian bush.

As a side note, this is not the sun, but the moon that you can see in this photograph.
These two first photographs, were made with my phone, as I was trying to preserve the battery from my camera, for all the fish that we were to catch later on... Yes, optimist me...

Anyway once the day had fully set, a bit before 9:00am a Toyota Troopy with three local indigenous stopped near us and asked if we needed any help. We didn't say no to them, but we explained that we needed a special size socket... One of them said, " Oh yes I might have that in the back. I was going to get my tools out of the car before we went hunting, but left them in."
We were in luck! The guy had all the tools we could need and the change of wheel was quickly done.
One of them seeing the fishing rods in the car said: "Hey, your fishing god must be laughing at you right now!" It made everybody laugh, Jason and I included. With the wheel just changed, not long after 9:00, as the three helpers were going to go, we saw the mechanic from the car rental company arrive with a big smile, in a big truck, just after the battle...
Jason gave $20 to the guys who helped us, and had a short talk with the mechanic, and off we went to catch all these fish...

Well once on the water, it didn't went exactly according to plan either.
Nothing bad happened, but all the fish were hiding from us...
I had even prepared a lure especially for this trip. A fishing lure that I was thinking was going to be dynamite on the Saratoga. Well, I did get a beautiful hit on the first or second cast with it. But that was it, a hit and nothing else, no hook up... 

The customised Mepps.

The idea was that by cutting off the treble and replacing it by a single, it would spin and be weedless. Which should have been perfect for fishing at Corroboree Billabong. Maybe next time, but not on this day. I will give it another chance, at the first occasion. 

I was in fact going to be 1:45pm before the first fish was going to be boated.
And I was very excited, because it was by me!
And what a fish! A Tarpon, one of the cutest ones that I had ever seen. Why cute? Simply because he was very small. Normally nothing to write home about. But a fish is a fish, especially if it took you half a day to hook it...

My prized Tarpon.

You may have understand by now, that this was not exactly what we had expected. But when you are with a good mate, catching up, with him telling me all about the Giant Trevally that he his now targeting near his new home. That we had in fact a good laugh at this greedy little fish who had taken my lure.
Of course, I could not help but to say that so far, I had caught the biggest fish of the day.

Not very long after that, Jason was on to a nice and feisty little Saratoga:

Jason reeling the Saratoga.

This didn't look like a monster fish, so I asked him with a smile, if he wanted me to grab the net or call the press first? He laughed and just pulled it in.

The only Saratoga for the day.

It was not a bad fish and was actually going to be the biggest fish of the day.
After a quick pic, it was released, like all the fish that we caught on this fishing trip.

We continued to fish, with about the same amount of success. A few hits, but nothing was staying connected.
At one point as we were flicking our lures all around us, we spotted a reasonably sized crocodile, and a little bird walking just in front of him:

Corroboree Billabong crocodile and a bird.

I got the camera ready, waiting for the old crocodile to pounce on the bird. But no, he must have had a full belly as he just looked at it pass under his nose without even making a try for it.
Maybe it was this bird lucky day.

And then it didn't take long for things to take a turn for the better, I caught a billabong Barramundi!
But once again it was no monster fish, far from it:

My best fish of the day.

Yes it was going to be my best fish of the day, as it was so much bigger than the Tarpon I got before...
Ok, it was just a rat of a fish, but it still made me smile. I guess that once again it must have been the cute factor...
And we had finally found the honey hole as Jason was on too, and in no time. He too boated a majestic Barramundi:

Jason's Barramundi.

Yes, it needed just one hand to be handled, it too was a rat of a Barramundi.
But we laughed that now I was not the only one with a Barra any more.

And that was going to be it fish wise, not that we stopped there and then, but just that we would not be able to boat anymore of these massive fish.
Yet it was a great spot to be, as beautiful in winter than it is in spring or summer:

Casting to the weeds bed.

Finally it was starting to be late in the day, and we had promised to the lady from whom we had rented the boat, that it would be back at 4:30pm. It was time to head back towards the pontoons.
The wind had stop, and in the serenity we could nearly have forgotten that the place was full of crocodile.

Corroboree Billabong in winter.

It was great to spend a day talking about the destructive power of the Giant Trevally while laughing at the small size fish that we were catching. Thank you Jason for inviting me on this trip. I am ready to do it again!
Even if we didn't catch that many big fish.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Another Wedding Lure.

Hi there,

This is only the second wedding fishing lure to come into my possession, and it is once again a very special one to have.
This one being a Reidy's B52, a local production, makes it even more special.

So who are the lucky couple?
Colleen and Nathan, they married in 2012, and I have had this lure for nearly a year in my collection, but life and other things got in the way of it and this very blog, sorry about that.

One morning last year Nathan gave me a lift to a fishing competition and in the car, told me that he had a present for me.
And what a present it was, a very limited edition fishing lure, that he had asked Reidy's to produce for his wedding to his sweetheart Colleen.
And here it is:

The Wedding Lure.

Yes, it is still in the box.
But lucky you, for the purpose of this blog post, I have taken it out of the box. Where it went straight back once the photo session was done.

This lure is marked on three sides, and you are going to see them all.

The happy couple names.

The importante date on the back.

And on the last side, a motto that should be followed by many people:

What it is all about.

I sometimes think that it would be nice to show them a photo of a nice sized Barramundi hooked to their wedding lure. And make no mistake the B52 is a very good Barramundi lure, one of my favourite in fact. As my first ever Barramundi on lure was caught using a B52, on the South Alligator River about seven years ago.
But there is no way in the world that this is going to happen. This lure is back in its box, and not getting out of it, not even for a courtesy swim.

Thank you Nathan, and Colleen to have given me this lure from your special day, this is much appreciated.

Yes there are other wedding lures out there, and I really would love to have in my small fishing lure collection, a section specialised in wedding lures. But so far I have only two of them…

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Little One On ABC Radio.

Hi there,

The previous post on this very blog was a bit of a success, and it was picked up by the local ABC Radio.
First they put this pic from it on their Facebook page:

And then they even interviewed my little one, about her fishing success.
Yes she got to be on air, in my favourite radio show: Tales from the Tinny.

Best radio show ever.

As I am sure that many of you can't wait to hear her dispensing all of her fishing wisdom. Here comes the link to the show, just click Here to hear how to catch some big breams.
Ok, for the time poor among you, she start speaking at around 41:37, but honestly the full show is great and you will miss something if you don't take the time to enjoy it at its fullest.
You can either listen to it streaming from the web, or download the podcast. Really the guys from The Tinny are doing a great job, thanks guys.

Yes she makes me proud, but if she continues like this, she might soon be a better angler than I…

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

On The First Day Of School Holidays.

Hi there,

Yes last Monday was the first day of our winter school holiday.
I had asked my little one what she wanted to do on this glorious day…
And she said fishing!
The gods of parenting must have been smiling upon me.

We dropped Mum at work, and fishing we went.
To a very secret spot, that my good mate Mr Mud had told us about, a few year ago.
How secret is that spot?
Well if you live in Darwin, you will recognise the place very easily from the photographs.

On our arrival we noticed that not one but two people, were sitting exactly on the spot that we intended to fish!
So we decided to fish a few metres from them, as after all, the sea is full of fish, no reason to fret.
We asked them if they caught anything, they said no, nothing took interest in their bait.
Were we to be there on an unlucky day?
This as never happened to my little one yet, and I was really hopping that we would not have to go home with a donut.
But fear no more, plenty of fish she caught.

In fact the first one was just a few minutes after we arrived. The two other guy started to exclaim that it took just a few minutes for a seven year old girl to out fish them…
Oh the pride in me, oh the joy in her…

Here comes the first fish of the day:

First fish of the day.

From what I was told, this fish is a Cardinal fish. It was so cute and pretty, that we did put it back in the water.
Then a car with an elderly couple pulled over, and they started to fish too.
The place was getting crowded , and we needed to catch another fish, the pressure was on.
Well not for my little one, as in no time she caught another fish.
And this time it was a Bream! This one we kept in the esky, hoping  for another one to have a good dinner…
But in all the action, I did forgot to take a photo of the first Bream.
Yes you read it right, the first one of the Breams, other were to follow.

As the two fellow who were there first, hadn't caught any fish yet and started to look at my little one fishing ability in amazement, she was on it again!
Screaming, shouting and jumping up and down, saying that this was a Big Big fish!
And a nice big bream it was:

Second Bream of the day.

This was in fact the nicest Pikey Bream I ever saw being caught from this spot.
Now I knew what we would have for dinner, I was happy. My little one was even happier than I.
But she said, that she now had one for her, one for me, and needed one for Mum.
I did try to temper her optimism, but she wouldn't get any of it, she was to catch one for Mum…

We fished some more… But now fish came to be caught.
Grand Ma came to see us, and brought some little snack.
The elderly couple left, without any fish…
I said that maybe we should go now…
But no, the little one wanted a fish for Mum…
The two guys who were there when we arrived, decided to left, and just as they passed us, the little one caught another bream!

Third Bream of the day.

That was it!
We had a fish for Mum, a fish for Dad, and one for the fishergirl!
We folded the chairs, put the esky back in the car, a last biscuit for the road and we headed back home.
This had been a great day, for the first day of the winter school holidays.

And yes, it might be time to change the line on the little one's reel, as it was broken twice by bigger fish, during the morning. 

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Monday, June 16, 2014

2014 Top End Barra Series Round 3.

Hi there,

Recently the third round of the 2014 Top End Barra Series was on.
It was taking place on the mighty Daly River, and what a round it was!

Brett, had invited me on his boat for this round, and picked me up, early on Saturday morning.
The Daly River is reputed for its numerous big Barramundi, and our hope were high.
Well don't hold your breath, you will not see any big fish in this post.
Yet, we still had a really good time, catching up with many good mates, and plenty of good laugh!

We launched at day break after dropping some gear at The Banyan Farm, and quickly caught up  on the water with other participants from the competition.

Catching up on the Daly.

In fact they were rather happy to see us, as they had never fished the Daly before, and needed someone to guide them through the divers rock bars and other obstacle hidden in the flowing waters.
Brett knows the river like the back of his hand, and zoomed us all to a place to troll:

Morning troll.

Meeting no success there, we went to another spot to try casting lures at a creek mouth: nothing there either.
We had a small raft-up with two other boats for a little while, swapping fishing stories and other tales.
After all the social aspect is one of the more important thing that makes the Top End Barra Series what it is. A very friendly competition.

We spent the rest of the day searching for elusive fishes, that we could not find.
But we did see a lot of crocodiles:

Salt Water crocodile on the mud bank.

From there we decided that it was time to get back to the Banyan Farm, for a shower and a meal.
And a great meal it was: all you can eat roasted lamb! It is with a full tummy that I went to bed, to find a much needed sleep. 

The morning chill had a savage bit to it. It was a long time since I had been so cold while going fishing.

Sunrise at the Banyan Farm.

On the water, it was beautiful, and as cold as on land:

Early morning on the river.

In such conditions, we had no other alternative than to cover up:

Brett's piloting.

Your's truly.

No, we were not gangsters on our way to a high sea robbery, just peaceful fishermen on our way to catch some elusive Barramundi.
It was in fact so cold, that I even had to wear a pair of sock!

Socks in the Crocs.

Not very elegant, but oh so comfortable. In fact so comfortable, that it is only when we went back to the boat ramp in the evening that I remembered to take them off… I will put that on the fishing focus …

But let's stop talking fashion and let's get back to the important stuff: fishing for Baramundi.
Well we did find a school of Barra deep down the river's guts:

Barramundi on the sounder.

Seeing them we decided to tie the boat to a snag and cast to them, as we could not entice them to take a lure on the troll.
We casted so many different lures to them, for no success that it started to be slightly frustrating.
Then Brett put a small soft plastic, in the reddish colour, and he was on!
That was a beautiful Barramundi, easy in the high 80 cm and he fought strongly. Brett got it to the boat, I had the net ready, and… The hook bent…
Not a thing that you would wish to anyone during a fishing competition, specially when it is your skipper, and that it is the first good fish hooked in the weekend.
I felt bad, but there was nothing I could have done, this Barra was just to strong for the hook of the small soft plastic lure.
So I put on my line a big soft plastic, with a big hook…
And a very good fish took it. It peeled the line from my reel, like if it didn't had any drag. In fact the drag was practically locked to the maximum, as we were fishing in very snaggy country, and the goal if we hooked would have been to get the fish in the boat, before it took us to the snags.
But after two very powerful, but short runs, it spat the lure, and I never saw this fish.
Which in fishermen language, just makes it even bigger, trust me.

And finally I hooked a small Barramundi on a 5 inch Reiddy's rubber:

My best Barramundi of the weekend.

It was definitively too small to be a point scorer, it was in fact so small that it would have been illegal to keep it. So in the drink it went back. Yet, as you can see on the image, it had really tried to scoff the lure. little fish are still good to catch, when they are the first of the weekend.

we did try some more, but no more fish we caught…

So we went back to camp, to rest for a few minutes, before going to the camping's restaurant for a Chicken schnitzel. That was the biggest Schnitzel that I had ever seen! I did finish my plate, but felt like I would not need any more food for a week. Basically, it was enormous and delicious.
I liked the Banyan Farm for the camp ground, now I like it even more for the food.

But during the evening meal, we learnt about a man who had been taken from his boat by a crocodile, while fishing another river from the Northern Territory.
It did put a bit of a chill in all of us.
Every body went to sleep.

The following morning we decided not to fish and to make our way back to Darwin.
We took the touristic road, if I may say, so Brett could show me a haunted bridge, and the Daly River crossing. Two place that I had heard a lot about in the fishing circle, but never seen yet.
It was great to see them.

From the Daly River crossing.

It was nice to finally see these places in real, and not in a fishing magazine.

I did lost a few lures to snags during this round. But was lucky enough to have Rosco giving me a still in the box Classic Four X for my little collection of fishing lures. And Brett gave me a DUO Realis Pencil 110, a lure that I wanted to try since a long time. I will use it in the upcoming rounds of the Top End Barra Series, and hopefully get a few point with it.
Here are the two lure, thank you Rosco and Brett:

Two good Barramundi lures.

And as I don't have any good fish pictures in this post, here comes a little film done with the video function on my point and shot still camera. Definitively not a Kubrick movie, but it shows a bit how beautiful is the Daly River:

Thank you again Brett, that was a great weekend, even if we didn't catch many fish, we had some good laugh.

Yes, this was my first donut of the year, and maybe not the last one too.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,